But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” Acts 10:15
Relate: Who are the “unclean” ones for you? For me it’s Red Sox fans. No, stop laughing, I’m serious. If you want proof of the existence of evil in this world just go watch the last four games of the ’04 ALCS. God bless my sister for her obedience to God and moving to Boston to minister to those heathen kids. I pray for her regularly. Trying to raise up a generation of godly young Jets and Yankees fans in the shadow of Foxboro Stadium… *shudder* Maybe someday I might go out there and visit her. I’d rather not but if I have to I will be sure to bring along a hazmat suit. I wouldn’t want to be contaminated or anything.
As a person who is fascinated by other people and cultures it really is hard to seriously put my finger on just how Peter would have felt when God told him to go to those gentiles. Perhaps it’s like a Tea Party activist joining a neo-communist student group. Maybe it would be like an American army veteran being sent to an Afghan village full of Taliban loyalists. Maybe it would be someone from Mumbai sent to Islamabad (or vise versa), a Jew to Palestinians or a Hezbollah member to Jews. Who are the “unclean” for you?
React: In the early church Paul was the missionary to gentiles but that didn’t let Peter off the hook. Each of us, like Peter, have a responsibility to be obedient and intentional in reaching out to those we have the opportunity to influence. Sometimes that will be a lot of fun. After all, one of the most effective ways to witness to neighbors and coworkers is to invite them over for dinner. Other times, that might mean sharing with that guy smelling of alcohol who stops you on the street asking for a buck. It might mean showing love to that person who just rubs you the wrong way. It might even mean taking a trip to Boston. We have to be obedient to God even when it means getting dirty. After all, He got down and dirty when He came to save the broken mess that was me.
God, I thank You that You loved me when I was unclean. I was a dirty broken mess and You took it from me and nailed it to the cross. Sometimes I’m still an unlovable dirty broken mess because I choose not to live in the freedom You have won for me. Knowing that, and because I want to be more like You, help me not to be so critical of other people’s dirt. Help me not to think myself above, or stay aloof from the uncleanness of others. Help me to show love… even when it isn’t easy.